Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley


This thermal walk (1.8km) on a secluded property explores the steaming banks of the Wairakei Stream and the deep pit of the Witches Cauldron. Kids will get a kick out of the thermal laser guns for testing the temperature of the ground and steam, which can turn the walk into something of a hot treasure hunt.

The property also has a peaceful campsite (sites $16 to $24, cabins $75 to $95, and cottages from $155), shared with peacocks and a host of farm animals, and a cafe.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Taupo attractions

1. Craters of the Moon

2.05 MILES

This geothermal area sprang to life when hydroelectric tinkering around the power station in 1958 caused water levels to fall. The pressure shifted,…

2. Huka Falls Lookout

2.28 MILES

Excellent spot to view spectacular Huka Falls. From the car park, cross the bridge and turn left.

3. Huka Falls

2.33 MILES

The Waikato, New Zealand’s longest river, squeezes through a narrow chasm at Huka Falls, making the dramatic 11m drop into a surging crystal-blue…

4. Aratiatia Rapids

2.89 MILES

Two kilometres off SH5, this gorge was a spectacular part of the Waikato River until a hydroelectric dam was plonked across the waterway, shutting off the…

5. Aratiatia Lookouts

2.98 MILES

The best spot to watch the raging Aratiatia Rapids. The first lookout is an easy five-minute walk from the rapids' car park, while the upper lookout takes…

6. Taupō Museum

4.98 MILES

This small but fascinating museum has an excellent Māori gallery and quirky displays, which include a 1960s caravan set up as if the occupants have just…

7. Hot Water Beach

5.77 MILES

At the end of the long town beach are patches of warm water right in front of a car park. It’s no Coromandel, but have a dig and you might find some…

8. Māori Rock Carvings

9.06 MILES

Accessible only by boat or kayak, these 14m-high carvings were etched into the cliffs near Mine Bay by master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell in the…